A black eye for boxing as Chavez Jr gets the nod over Vera!

20130930-174548.jpg

You know when you have that bitter taste in your mouth after you’ve consumed something? Well, that’s the unpleasant feeling I, and many others had after the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr-Brian Vera scorecards were read out.

The vast majority who watched the fight at the StubHub Center in Carson, and at home, on September 28, believed Vera had won.
Chavez Jr was awarded the unanimous decision with scores of 98-92, 96-94, 97-93, after 10 rounds of boxing.
Nowadays, we shouldn’t be shocked when dubious scorecards are read out.

Vera, 31, took the fight to the Mexican from the off; stepping in with his jab to set up his ammunition. The Texan set a very high work rate throughout, throwing more punches than Chavez Jr overall, but connected with fewer shots.
Vera also threw more power punches than Chavez Jr and landed more.

Chavez Jr, 27, practically fought on the back foot for the entire fight, winding up his shots rather than throwing punches in bunches. The Mexican landed some eye-catching shots to head and body, but they were single scoring shots more than anything else.
Whenever Chavez Jr landed something of note, Vera merely smiled back at him as if to say; “Is that all you got?!”.
Vera did, however, acknowledge Chavez a couple of times whenever the Mexican got off with some good shots.

Vera was momentarily buzzed on occasion and rocked on another, but he showed a solid chin and kept plugging away. After the final bell, Vera raised his hands up in the air, cheering confidently, believing he had got the better of Chavez Jr.

Chavez Jr moves to 47(32)-1-1, whilst Vera slips to 23(14)-7-0.

This was arguable Vera’s most impressive career performance.
He looked like a man full of confidence and his game plan won him the fight in many people’s eyes.

“Superman” soaring to new heights!

20130930-010514.jpg

Adonis “Superman” Stevenson, successfully defended the WBC light heavyweight title on September 28. He dominated former World titlist, Tavoris Cloud, over 7 rounds at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Stevenson, coming off a spectacular victory over former WBC light heavyweight titlist, Chad Dawson, in June, now looks like a fighter who has reached his peak in the sport.
The 36-year-old native of Haiti, showcased his boxing skills on the night and never allowed Cloud to gain any sort of foothold during the contest.

Cloud, 31, is an experienced fighter, who defended the IBF 175lbs strap four times from August 2010 to February 2012. He was seen as a very live undedog going into the contest; expected to possibly expose Stevenson as a “one-trick pony” and capable of withstanding “Superman’s” power to take him into the latter rounds. This proved not to be the case. Stevenson grinded Cloud down, picking his shots systematically, ruthlessly and confidently to keep hold of the lineal championship.
Cloud’s corner had no alternative but to stop the fight after the 7th round.

Cloud just didn’t let his hands go all night and didn’t throw his right hand nearly enough. I’m not taking anything away from Stevenson’s performance; because he was excellent, but I believe that Cloud made life easier for him too. Cloud might have been expecting Stevenson to come out all guns blazing, throwing bombs, but the Stevenson that showed up on the night may have startled Cloud to a degree.

Stevenson’s record moves to 22(19)-1-0 after this win, whilst Cloud slips to 24(19)-2-0.

“Superman” is most certainly flying high right now!

The Prodigal Son Returns!

20130928-045250.jpg

HBO main event: Chavez Jr vs Vera

StubHub Center, Carson, California, USA – 10 rounds

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, returns to the ring this Saturday night after over a year out of action. The 27-year-old Mexican faces experienced journeyman, Brian Vera, in what should be an action-packed fight.

Chavez Jr (46-1-1, 32 KO’s), took on Argentinian, Sergio Martinez, last September attempting to defend his WBC middleweight title. We witnessed a dramatic and enthralling finale to that fight that will live long in the memory.
Dominated over 11 rounds, face bruised and bleeding from the nose, the Mexican somehow found a way to land a left hook followed by another in the 12th round to put Martinez down.
The Argentinian, though, managed to lift himself off the canvas; winning a lopsided unanimous decision to reclaim the WBC middleweight title.

Vera (23-6, 14 KO’s), has momentum going into this contest as he has fought twice this year and won; beating Ukranian, Serhiy Dzinziruk (TKO 7) and Lithuanian, Donatas Bondorovas (RTD 7).
The 31-year-old Texan is considered by many as a live underdog, due to his high-volume punching style and because he is not easily discouraged. He is a fighter that Chavez Jr should not be overlooking.

Before his fight with Martinez, Chavez Jr looked weight drained and it affected him during the fight. He has also had weight issues ahead of this fight, which was originally scheduled to be fought at the middleweight limit of 160lbs. It is now being fought at a catchweight of 173lbs. If Chavez Jr is rusty or his conditioning is not up to scratch against Vera, it could be a difficult night for the Mexican.

Prediction:

I think it will be a dangerous move for Vera if he decides to go toe-to-toe with Chavez Jr. I think Vera’s best shot at winning is to get in range, get his shots off quickly then get out of range; using lateral movement to keep Chavez Jr off-balance. Chavez Jr will walk forward and aim to cut the ring off, unloading power shots to the body in an attempt to draw Vera’s hands down so he can unload upstairs.

This is a 10 round contest so I think the safe bet is Chavez Jr to win on points, but I’m going for the Mexican to win by 7th round stoppage.

“Superman” looks to keep his momentum going!

20130927-224952.jpg

On June 8, 2013, it took Adonis “Superman” Stevenson just 76 seconds to announce himself on the World stage; landing a devastating left hand to rip the WBC light heavyweight title from “Bad” Chad Dawson’s clutches. This Saturday night, Stevenson aims to produce the goods once again as he attempts to keep the lineal championship with victory over Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud.

Stevenson, 21(18)-1-0, made his pro debut in 2006 at the age of 29. It was a late start in to boxing but he has most certainly made up for lost time. After 13 straight wins, Stevenson suffered the first and only loss of his career to date at the hands of journeyman Darnell Boone; who knocked Stevenson out in two rounds. “Superman” wiped the dust off his cape to record six straight wins inside the distance, with two of those wins coming by way of knockout. Stevenson then avenged the defeat to Boone in March earlier this year; crushing him in six rounds.

A move up from super middleweight to light heavyweight to face Dawson for the WBC 175lb title had some people questioning Stevenson’s ability to carry his power up the weights. The southpaw, though, went from relative obscurity to champion of the world in stunning fashion; proving that he really has dynamite in his left hand. That win sent shock waves through the light heavyweight division. The manner in which the 36-year-old native of Haiti beat the former WBC champ was frightening and impressive. Stevenson now faces Tavoris Cloud in only his second fight at light heavyweight.

Cloud, 24(19)1-0, claimed the vacant IBF 175lb strap back in 2009 after outworking a durable Clinton Woods over 12 absorbing rounds. Cloud retained the IBF belt twelve months later, seeing off the battle-hardened Glen Johnson with victory coming via unanimous decision. Just four months after beating Johnson, the 31-year-old Tallahassee, Florida-native, came up against Columbian knockout artist, Fulgencio Zuniga. The Columbian was down but not out on two occasions during the contest, but was able to hear the final bell. He was, however, well beaten on points.

Cloud successfully defended the IBF crown for the third time in June 2011, stopping Yusaf Mack in 8 rounds. In Cloud’s fourth defense, his opponent; Spaniard, Gabriel Campillo, was on the receiving end of a controversial points defeat. Many who had observed the action believed that Campillo should have been awarded the win.

Cloud and Jean Pascal were then pencilled in to face each other last August, but Pascal withdrew due to a hand injury. Bernard Hopkins stepped in and took on Cloud at a later date which came on March 9 earlier this year. Cloud really did meet his match on this occasion. Hopkins was far too crafty and sharp over the 12 rounds and he now has possession of the IBF light heavyweight title.

Adonis Stevenson-Tavoris Cloud has the makings to be an incredibly exciting matchup. Stevenson has now proven that he can bang at 175lbs. He has said that he wasn’t surprised that he knocked out Chad Dawson, because power is power and he’s a power puncher. Stevenson, though, may need to showcase his all-round skills on the night if the fight becomes a tactical affair.

Cloud has proven over the years that he has punching power too. It’ll be interesting to see how Stevenson’s chin holds up if Cloud lands clean. Cloud can also box and fights aggressively and he has a very good chin, but if Stevenson lands something concrete on the button Cloud may crumble.

Cloud has fought at a higher level to Stevenson, but boxing’s all about timing and Cloud may just come up against a fighter who has reached his peak.

“Superman” returns and he is intent on proving he is “The Man of Steel”; but “Thunder” could strike!

Saunders retains titles but pushed to the wire by Ryder!

Saturday 21 September 2013 – Copper Box Arena, Hackney Wick, London

saundersBilly Joe Saunders is still the holder of the British and Commonwealth middleweight belts, but only after being pushed to the wire by mandatory challenger, John Ryder!

At the start of the contest, both fighters took to the center of the ring working behind their jabs. With Ryder’s style, he’s not all that easy to hit clean, but Saunders had the edge in hand speed and he scored with shots and was slightly the more aggressive throughout the round. In the 2nd, both started fast and traded blows, but Saunders was again doing that little bit more and getting off first more often than not. Saunders edged the first two rounds on my scorecard, but in the 3rd, when a clinch occurred, it suited Ryder. He was able to get through Saunders’ guard with uppercuts and landed to the body. It was clear to me that Saunders preferred to establish distance between himself and Ryder, but when in close Ryder’s work was more telling. Ryder also slipped punches well and made the champion miss often. Both fighters were a bit more patient in the 4th, working behind their jabs, but Saunders was that bit busier again.

Ryder aimed to cut off the ring more in the 5th, not wanting to allow Saunders any space to work to get his shots off. However, he wasn’t throwing enough and Saunders was able to get out of trouble without shipping anything, keeping on his toes and getting off first with both hands. Saunders again kept on his toes early in the 6th, but Ryder landed a sharp uppercut when they clinched and planted some solid hooks when they exchanged.

You got the feeling that this was simmering nicely as it entered the second half of the fight.

Saunders was off first at the start of the 7th, as the tempo was slightly raised by both fighters. However, Saunders looked quite ragged with his mouth wide open and it looked like it could turn in to Ryder’s type of fight. In the 8th, though, Saunders used the ring and stuck to his boxing, getting off first with his punches. This was now becoming a very back and forth type of fight. Ryder was now in new territory, as he had never gone 9 rounds before in his career. He targeted Saunders’ body with left hands, but Saunders won the round on work rate. Ryder became an easier target to hit in the 10th, but I got the impression that both fighters were becoming increasingly tired and missing more. The 11th round witnessed a lot of clinching, but Ryder planted some nice hooks during the round to edge it. In the final round, Ryder was very aggressive and bullied Saunders, landing clean uppercuts. Saunders was very mobile throughout the entire fight and it was clear that he was exhausted. They both embraced after the final bell which was great to see. The three judges at ringside scored the contest 115-114, 115-113, 115-113 to Saunders.

Saunders, 24, improved to 19(10)-0-0 whilst Ryder, 25, slipped to 15(9)-1-0, with this the first loss of his career.

Despite Ryder winning the 12th round, and many rounds being tightly contested, my scorecard ended up 115-113 in favour of Saunders. I believe that there was no injustice about the decision and I believe the right fighter won. Would I like to see a rematch? Without a shadow of a doubt. Do I believe a rematch will happen? Unfortunately, no.

Saunders is now one win away from claiming the Lonsdale belt outright. Ryder can take heart from his performance and I have no doubt that he will be a British champion in the near future.

Mathews produces the goods once again!

Image‘Dirty’ Derry Mathews produced the goods once again at the Liverpool Olympia on September 21, stopping challenger, Curtis Woodhouse, in 4 rounds to retain the Commonwealth lightweight belt for the second time.

Woodhouse, 33, has come a long way since switching sports from football to boxing. He gave Frankie Gavin all he could handle over 12 rounds in 2011, and claimed the vacant English light welterweight title last year. He lost controversially in his first defense of that title, but, after impressing in two fights at lightweight, he was offered the opportunity to face Mathews for the Commonwealth strap. It was always going to be a tough assignment for Woodhouse, but he had every confidence in himself that he had the tools to upset the odds, Mathews, 29, being the vastly experienced, tough fighter he is, was as focused as ever going into this contest. He also has one punch knockout power, which proved evident on the night.

Woodhouse looked to box his way in close to Mathews early on, seeking openings to upload shots to the body. Mathews, though, started brightly, standing his ground and boxing exceptionally well behind a solid jab. He also picked his shots intelligently and accurately. The Liverpudlian looked the bigger man on fight night too, despite Woodhouse dropping down in weight. Mathews still looked sharp in the 2nd, commanding center ring and boxing very well, getting through with some crisp shots through Woodhouse’ guard. Woodhouse was clearly thinking in there though. To his credit, he has improved technically and that is down to his hard work and dedication. But, going into the 3rd, Mathews was in control of the contest.

Woodhouse upped the tempo in round 3, but Mathews would not allow him to drag the contest into his type of fight. Mathews kept to his boxing, taking center ring once more and boxing effectively. The Scouser was looking a level above the Yorkshireman. Again in the 4th, Woodhouse looked to box his way in close as he kept a high guard, aiming to get Mathews up against the ropes to work the body. However, Mathews was in no mood to give way and with 1:55 remaining of the round, he landed a left hook-right hand combo that sent ‘The Trollhunter’ on to his backside. Woodhouse rose to his feet, but his legs were gone and the fight was waved off.

Mathews once again demonstrated his punching power in stunning fashion. His record improves to 34(19)-8-2 with Woodhouse slipping to 19(13)-6-0. Many expected this fight to get drawn into a war, but Mathews would not allow it to. He displayed superior boxing ability, timing and power. Woodhouse himself can punch, but he just was not able to land anything of significance at all to get Mathews out of his rhythm.

Slick Saunders ready to battle a forcible foe in Ryder!

ImageBilly Joe Saunders (18-0-0, 10 KO’s), makes his second defense of the BBBofC British middleweight title and fifth defense of his Commonwealth middleweight title on September 21, when he faces mandatory challenger, John Ryder (15-0-0, 9 KO’s), at the Copper Box Arena, Hackney Wick, London.

Saunders, 24, and Ryder, 25, headline a stacked show at the Copper Box this Saturday. This matchup pits together two unbeaten British talents who are each at a particular juncture in their careers, but who are aiming to prove that they are the cream of the crop in the British middleweight division.

As mentioned, Saunders, a 2008 Olympian, is aiming to defend the British strap for a second time which he first claimed in December 2012, seeing off Nick Blackwell in what proved to be a difficult assignment over 12 rounds. The Hatfield pro also has his sights set on becoming the first boxer from the traveller community to win a British Lonsdale belt outright. Islington’s Ryder missed out on fighting for the Southern Area and English middleweight titles, so his dream of fighting for the British title has now become a reality. ‘The Gorilla’, which is Ryder’s alias, is the underdog going in to this fight. He has won 9 of his 15 pro fights inside the distance and will be aiming to get stuck in to Saunders as soon as the bell sounds for the first round. Ryder’s best win to date came in December 2012 when he defeated Northern Ireland’s, Eamonn O’Kane, via stoppage in the 8th round. That fight was billed as a British middleweight title eliminator.

Many people are picking Saunders to claim a routine points victory over Ryder. Saunders is a class act who can box on the back foot extremely well and on the front foot too. He also has good power, but it has been noted that he has suffered with hand injuries in the past. Saunders hasn’t stopped an opponent since September 2009, (Jarrod Fletcher), but don’t let this fool you. Saunders has exceptional timing and he is more than capable of hurting whoever he faces with a well timed shot.

Ryder is a come forward pressure fighter, who uses a lot of head movement. He is a thinking fighter too and does not always go looking for the knockout. I believe he is getting stronger with each passing fight and I believe he is being somewhat underestimated ahead of this showdown. The majority of fans and experts believe that he has his work cut out in getting the better of Saunders. Some say this title shot has come a little too early for Ryder, but if the opportunity to fight for a major title comes knocking on your door, you welcome it with both hands.

Saunders is widely recognized on the British scene whereas Ryder is aiming to make a name for himself. A win here for Ryder will do his career wonders. A defeat for Saunders would be a major setback. Big things are expected of Saunders. All the pressure is on him to perform and it’s up to Ryder to show us what he has in his locker.

I expect Saunders to use plenty of movement, to pepper Ryder with his jab and to select his shots intelligently. Ryder has got to cut off the ring and make Saunders work. If he’s able to cut the ring off then he can target Saunders’ body to slow him down.

The smart money is on Saunders to win this fight via unanimous decision, but I believe Ryder has what it takes to cause an upset!

PRESSURE ON BURNS TO PERFORM!

ImageHis last outing on May 11 proved to be a far more difficult assignment than anticipated, against little-known Puerto Rican, Jose A Gonzalez. After 9 rounds, Gonzalez had demonstrated skill, power and a boxing brain, but that’s where the fight ended for him. Ricky Burns was victorious, but only after the Puerto Rican had retired after claiming he had injured his wrist. Who knows what would have happened if Gonzalez had carried on. We might have seen Burns lose for the first time since February 2007 and his World belt. It was definitely a wake up call for the Coatbridge star.

On September 7, at the SECC in Glasgow, Burns (36-2-0, 11 KO’s), faces tough Mexican, Raymundo Beltran, in his fourth defense of the WBO lightweight title.

Beltran (28-6-0, 17 KO’s), hails from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, and he is a Top Rank fighter, promoted by Bob Arum. He travels to the U.K for the first time in his career. The Mexican is full of confidence, but what awaits him in Glasgow might just shock him.

The SECC is going to be packed with thousands of boisterous Scots, singing songs and chanting Burns’ name. The atmosphere is going to be electric. The roof might even come flying off the place after Hall of Fame ring announcer, Michael Buffer, let’s rip his famous catchphrase, “LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!”

The 32-year-old Mexican expects Burns to be in much better form than he was when he fought Gonzalez, so he has gotten himself in excellent condition for his first crack at a World title. The chance to fight for a World title means a great deal to the Mexican and he is relishing this opportunity. Beltran is hungry and has punching power. Combine the two and you have a recipe for destruction. If Beltran is victorious, it opens the door for future big fights against the other big names in the lightweight division.

Beltran spars frequently with Filipino star, Manny Pacquiao, and apparently gives him hell each time they meet. Pacquiao has said that he believes Beltran has the tools to defeat Burns and believes that he will beat the Scot.

Burns, 30, knows what Beltran has to offer. He is a dangerous opponent. Burns cannot afford to have any moments where he loses his focus. The Scottish star is intent on putting on a stellar performance.

We’ve seen Burns come through adversity many times before and show the heart of a true champion. That’s why he still is a World champion, but on September 7, the pressure is on him to perform!